It took six hours of effort.
Around 4 a.m. on the night of Tuesday to Wednesday, the beluga, lost in the Seine for a week, was taken out of the lock at Saint-Pierre-la Garenne (Eure), the first stage of the operation "hors standard" in an attempt to put it back to sea.
The cetacean, weighing nearly 800 kg and whose state of health was deemed "alarming", was lifted in a net towed by a crane and placed on a barge, where he was immediately taken care of by a dozen veterinarians dressed in white jumpsuits.
The beluga was taken out of the water after long hours of preparation and effort.
Congratulations to the teams involved for having taken up this challenge. The first medical examinations have been carried out, the results will soon be known.
The beluga will now take the road to Ouistreham.
— Sea Shepherd France (@SeaShepherdFran) August 10, 2022
The 24 divers engaged and the rescuers handling the ropes around the basin had to try several times, between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m., to lure the animal into the nets and the structure capable of lifting it out of the water. , noted AFP journalists.
A handful of curious people remained on the bank all night to observe the operations.
The beluga, an animal living in cold waters, whose presence in the Seine is exceptional, must then be placed in a refrigerated truck which will transport it out of the water, "on straw or another element of comfort", bound for the coastline, said the secretary general of the prefecture of Eure, Isabelle Dorliat-Pouzet, before the start of the delicate operation.
“He might die”
A basin of seawater, in a lock in the port of Ouistreham (Calvados), was made available to receive the animal, which will remain there for three days, "while we organize its repatriation in the open sea and that 'we observe his state of health,' according to the sub-prefect.
AFP or licensors
Spotted on August 2 in the river, the cetacean has been detained since Friday in the basin of a lock, located 70 km northwest of Paris.
The operation to bring it back to sea, if it is “out of the ordinary”, is not without risk for the beluga, already weakened and sensitive to stress, recalled Isabelle Brasseur, from Marineland in Antibes.
"It could be that he dies now, during the manipulation, during the journey or at point B" in Ouistreham, she warned.